Tongala earns a tough win while Rochester Tigers make flying start to premiership defence.
A superb individual knock from Tongala top-order batsman Ben Scowen earned his team a four-wicket win against Rochester United in the first round of Goulburn Murray Cricket on Saturday.
Chasing a low target of 126 at Tongala Recreation Reserve, Scowen was a lone steady hand after coming in at first drop as his teammates fell all around him.
With United on track to record a surprise win when they had Tongala 6/75, Blues captain Andrew Good joined Scowen at the crease and provided stability.
The pair added 51 runs — with Good scoring just nine — as Tongala reached the target in the penultimate over, with Scowen hitting five boundaries and one six in his unbeaten innings of 67.
Scowen’s innings was made even more remarkable as no other batsmen reached double figures.
Good said it was a great start to the season for the team.
Good also praised the performance of young bowler Alex Williams.
The Blues’ win was set up after a terrific spell with the ball, restricting United to 9/125 after its 40 overs after sending the visitors in to bat.
The visitors started well enough despite the early loss of Tim Bubb to David Currie to be 1/36, before Brendan McGrath took the vital wicket of Jake Perry (23).
Liam Ringin and Steve Rasmussen followed shortly after and only a handy knock from all-rounder Sam Frawley (38) helped United to a competitive total.
Wickets were shared among the Tongala bowlers, with openers Adam Nunn and Currie finishing with 2/14 and 2/32 respectively, while Good (2/17) and former Kyabram Fire Brigade junior Williams (2/22) took vital wickets.
Frawley again led the way for his side in Tongala’s reply, snagging 3/27, while Perry (1/17), Nick O’Connor (1/24) and the economic Joel Bunce (1/13) also restrained the Blues.
United captain Tim Bubb said although disappointed to lose the game, he was proud of the players’ efforts after a poor start.
With a slow outfield, Bubb rated the team ‘half a chance’ when going into the field, but was pleased with his team’s performance again especially in the absence of regular opening bowler Colin Griggs and Liam Ringin unable to bowl due to a shoulder injury.
■ Rochester Tigers started its premiership defence in superb fashion with a 146-run win against Stanhope on Saturday.
The Tigers, led by opening batsman Brad Major, recorded 6/203 from their 40 overs before bowling out Stanhope for 57.
Major and Matt Stokes set the tone for the visitors early, recording a solid opening partnership before Daniel Newton caught Stokes (32) off his own bowling.
Kade Dearing then dismissed the dangerous Adam Ward (nine) soon after, before Major and Sean Williams produced another good performance.
Major was eventually trapped lbw by Steven Hall for 72, with Williams (24), Mitch Crawford (18 not out) and debutant Russell Sherriff (12 not out) helping the team to a high score, while Stanhope was not helped by conceding 32 extras.
Zac Dearing was clearly the home team’s best bowler, finishing with 2/24 from his eight overs, while Hall (2/34), Newton (1/36) and Kade Dearing (1/36) were the other wicket-takers.
After a slow start, the Tigers made short work of Stanhope to dismiss the team within 27 overs.
Daryl Harrison (15) was the only player to reach double figures, while the 13 extras recorded was the team’s second-highest scorer.
Opening bowlers Ward and Grant Wachter (1/17) did not experience a lot of success, but the team’s other bowlers took full toll.
Stokes cleaned up the tail to finish with 3/5, while Jake Wright (2/8), Sean Williams (2/11) and Stuart Withers (2/2) the other wicket-takers.
■ Moama kicked off the new season in fine style with a comfortable five-wicket victory against Bamawm-Lockington United on Saturday.
After winning the toss at Bamawm Recreation Reserve, Moama set BLU the challenge of batting first on what was a perfect afternoon for cricket.
Moama was on the back foot early after a composed 89-run opening stand between BLU’s Greg Pearse and Liam Gwynne forced skipper Cameron Parker to make six bowling changes within the first 19 overs of the match.
Kirk Teasdale took the long-awaited wicket, sending Pearse back to the pavilion on 29 after he hit out to fielder Ralph Siede, before trapping Gwynne lbw after a brilliant half-century.
Finishing with a total of nine fours in his 57, Gwynne blasted seven boundaries in consecutive scoring shots, punishing the bowling of Moama’s Jake Toll, Graeme Mitchell and Alistair McCann.
Cruising at 2/104, BLU suffered a middle-order collapse of 4/43, losing the wickets of skipper Ben Docking, Joe Holloway, Josh Cairns and Joel Felmingham cheaply.
Amid the collapse, BLU had a shining light in number three Tim Hermans.
In a superb knock of 63, which included six fours and one six, Hermans was the rock and catalyst in his side’s competitive total of 7/176.
Teasdale was the pick of Moama’s eight bowlers, finishing with 3/26 from his seven overs, including a wicket-maiden, assisted by an impressive performance by young Joel Murphy.
Murphy picked up two key wickets during BLU’s collapse, finishing with 3/24 from six overs, including the wicket of Hermans with the final ball of the innings.
Needing 177 to win, Moama’s opening pair of Siede and Quade Albert made a solid start posting a 42-run partnership before Albert was caught in the gully off the bowling of Doug Edwards Jr for 12.
BLU’s second change, Gwynne, wasted no time claiming his first wicket, snaring Mitchell (five) in his first over, before a runout ended Siede’s time at the crease shortly after posting his half-century.
Looking slightly vulnerable at 3/83 in the 17th over, Parker (51) teamed up with Teasdale (39) to build a match winning partnership worth 83 runs, before holing out to fieldsmen off the bowling of Docking and Shannon Bish respectively late in the innings.
Needing eight runs from three overs, Murphy (four not out) and Glen McFadden (six not out) scoring the winning runs in the 39th over.
Moama takes on Rochester Tigers in Rochester next week, while BLU travels to Tongala.
■ A superb bowling performance from Mitch Barrett helped Cooma secure first-round points against Northern United at Cooma Cricket Ground on Saturday.
Barrett spearheaded Cooma’s bowling attack snaring 5/18 from his eight overs after United won the toss and elected to bat first on a bowler friendly pitch.
The speedster clean-bowled United opener Brendan Unwin for 14 before claiming the scalp of first drop Shanaka Silva for three, to have United struggling at 2/25.
United failed to string together strong enough partnerships, succumbing in the 37th over to be all out for 114.
Cooma’s skipper Michael Hill assisted Barrett chipping in with two wickets, sending Dan Tayles and opposing captain Brad Jones packing, before snaring the final wicket of the innings to finish with 3/16 from his 7.2 overs.
Luke Barrett was also solid with the ball, finishing the day with 1/33 from seven overs.
United’s opener Luke Hartshorn battled hard for his 24 before a disappointing run out ended his promising innings.
Hartshorn’s knock was the shining light of United’s scorecard while tail-ender Darren Wright (22) also stood firm to try and salvage what was left of his side’s innings.
In reply, Cooma’s batting did not fare much better.
A total of eight Cooma batsmen finished with scores less than nine, while Steve Barrett (48) and Wil Jackson (18), were the only players to reach double figures.
Barrett entered the fold with Cooma dwindling at 2/22 and was the rock amid a flurry of wickets.
Barrett eventually fell to Tayles who, after claiming his first wicket earlier in the innings, finished with 2/29 from eight overs, faring as one of United’s best bowlers along with McKindlay (2/17).
The winning runs were left to Liam and Mitch Barrett after Jackson fell with the scoreline at 8/116.
■ A knee injury to Andy Kent soured a comfortable win for Kyabram Fire Brigade on Saturday.
After batting first and making a good total on the big Echuca South oval, the Flames bowled well to dismiss the Swans for 108 and secure a 77-run win.
English recruit Joe Taylor impressed with a solid half-century opening the batting for Fire Brigade, while Will Power and Jarrod Chapman cleaned up South’s middle-order and tail to finish with seven wickets between them.
Echuca South recruit Hamish Lewis also had an encouraging game with bat and ball, taking two wickets and scoring 27 runs as a top-order batsman.
After winning the toss and batting, the Flames started well with Taylor and Trevor Watts at the crease.
A 47-run partnership ended when Watts was run out for 12, the team reached 1/87 at drinks.
Taylor and Daniel Kent then upped the ante as play resumed and looked to be coasting along before Kent was caught in the deep by Mitch McMullan for a well-made 44 off Mark Peterson.
This ended an 86-run partnership and Taylor fell moments later, edging the ball through to wicket-keeper Justin Saker.
The wickets halted Fire Brigade’s momentum.
An injury after to Andy Kent, who suffered a possible dislocated kneecap when running between wickets, compounded the situation.
Despite the constant wickets, as Lewis (2/39), Peterson (2/40), Keith Chalmers (1/29) and David Geltch (1/29) struck, runs also kept flowing as the team finished at 8/185 from its 40 overs.
This included 15 runs from South African recruit Tyrone Isitt, who was run out in bizarre fashion after Brett Andison smashed the ball back at bowler Shannon O’Brien, who dropped the catch but the ball went on to strike the stumps with Isitt out of his crease.
In reply, South started well and despite the loss of Saker (19) was 1/68, before suffering a dramatic collapse to lose its last nine wickets for 40 runs.
Opener Chalmers top-scored with 31, while Lewis also batted well, with no other batsman reaching double figures.
Power (4/6) and Chapman (3/14) led the way with the ball for the Flames, with the other wickets going to Brett Andison (2/26) and Brendan White (1/20).
Fire Brigade captain Daniel Kent said the team played reasonably well but was always happy to get a win in the first round.
Artist Nici Cumpston will hold a free Artist Talk at Shepparton Art Museum tonight, speaking about her body of work based around the Shepparton region.
It’s been a long journey for Tim Roadley but his dream of creating a multi-sport endurance event on the Murray River is now going to be a reality.
It was a big day for Jye McNeil on Sunday, not only celebrating his 19th birthday, but riding a double at the Tatura and Shepparton Racing Club’s meeting, including the big one, the Vraca and Varapodio Italian Plate (1600 m), on the Gerald Egan-trained Jetconi.
Echuca Football Club has signed Joel Magnabosco and Kane Morris for next season.
On Friday Rochester’s St Joseph’s Primary School opened a time capsule which was buried in the 1980s.
Waste collection in Campaspe Shire will change for two weeks during the festive season.
Valley Park Farms' egg production facility is expected to increase production and staff after a $100 000 Victorian Government grant.
Murchison’s Jane Spencer’s first exhibition It Just Dawned On Me will be on show in Shepparton in the first half of next year.
Lisa Milligan has started a new dog grooming business in Heathcote to help fund her Wild ABout Wildlife centre in Kilmore.
A group of volunteers have worked to revitalise the Cobram motorcross track to improve safety and attract new members to the club.
Federal Member for Farrer Sussan Ley says plans are in the works on how to get natural gas to Deniliquin.
New Transport Accident Commission research has revealed why some young country drivers habitually take risks on regional roads.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Parks Victoria and Country Fire Authority will be performing planned burns in Goomalibee on Monday.
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